Old age care with Ayurveda

Old Age Care

According to Ayurveda; as one grows up, the 'dhatus' that make a human body , degenerate because of various structural changes that take place in the course of time. Hence the focus of Ayurveda in the case of old age care is to rejuvenate the seven dhatus that comprise the human body:

  1. Shukra : Sperm
  2. Medas : Fat
  3. Rasa : Lymph
  4. Mansa : Flesh
  5. Asthi : Bone
  6. Majja : Marrow
  7. Raktha : Blood

The care and treatment of the elderly is termed as "Vridhopacharaneeyam" in Ayurveda. The Ayurveda system of medicine deals with all old age problems starting from constipation, exhaustion, sleeplessness, diminishing sensory faculties, wrinkled skin to diabetes, hypertension, cardiac problems.The treatment suggested to an elderly patient depends on the sequential diagnosis performed by an Ayurveda doctor.

Panchakarma for old age

Pre-purification therapies that are highly relaxing for the body and mind are the first ones to be applied. They help in loosening of toxins and opening up the circulation channels. These methods include :

1) Sirodhara therapy
It involves pouring of warm medicated herbal oil on the person's forehead for about 30 to 40 minutes from a suspended oil filled vessel that is hung 3 or 4 inches above the patient. The medicated oil is made by boiling herbs and fruits such as gooseberry, bala,sandalwood, bael, liquorices, nut grass tuber,winter cherry etc in gingelly oil, coconut oil, ghee, milk etc.

2) Abhyangam
It involves full body massage done with bare hands, using warm herbal oil, generally a four hand massage. The high penetration ability of the healing herbs help surface the toxins inside the body, and ensures active blood circulation to afflicted areas. Medicinal herbs like neem, bael, sida, spreading hog weed, ten roots rock salt, sweet flag etc. are used.

3) Elakizhi
It is a massage-sweat therapy that used warm oil and cotton pouches filled with fresh green leaves and herbs. It causes nervous reflex and dilates blood vessels in the arthritis areas. Plants like vitex, Castor, Datura, Calotropis and Tamarind are commonly used. They have good anti inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Then come main purification therapies that eliminate the toxins that were loosened during the pre-purification method:

1) Nasyam is the instillation of medicated oil through the nose. It improves blood circulation and reduces nerve stretching and inflammatory pains in the head.

2) Vamanam- is also known as therapeutic vomiting. It is a treatment that eliminates the vitiated doshas through the upper gastro-intestinal track. Also, It expels and cleanses undigested food, Kapha and Pitta.

3) Virechanam consists of intake of safe herbal medicines leading to the elimination of the poisonous wastes through the anal route.

Diet Regulations for old age care

A balanced diet consisting more of fruits, vegetables, milk and unpolished rice should be followed during old age. A person needs to drink atleast three litres of water daily.

Yoga and life style for old age care

Yoga exercises done every day replenish and rebalance the physical and emotional systems that are depleted by the everyday stresses. Senior citizens should avoid stress, tension and anxiety in their lives.

Vitiated vata causes body ache, pain in joints, dry skin, weakness of muscles etc. Ayurveda acharyas recommend body massage with vata balancing oil like ksheerabala oil to normalize imbalanced vata. This therapy is usually recommended for people who have aches, joint pain, muscular pain.

A happy & comfortable old age is the fruit of well disciplined life in younger age. However, the various ageing problems can be cured to an extent with the help of Ayurveda.

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